Wynne Gray on sport
Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: Repeat biting offender deserved bigger ban

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Leonardo Senatore. Photo / Getty
Leonardo Senatore. Photo / Getty

Argentine loose-forward Leonardo Senatore was banned for nine weeks for biting in 2013.

In the weekend Super Rugby action, Senatore bit a rival Sharks forward and was banned for 10 weeks.

None of the discussion, argument or details about the incident are included in a statement from Sanzar after the video hearing, only a few paragraphs about the incident and the decision.

The three-man judicial committee, chaired by Adam Casselden, decided Senatore's latest offence deserved the lowest ban of 12 weeks.

They noted his previous conviction and added two weeks for that before reducing the penalty by a month for his good behaviour.

"However taking into account mitigating factors including the player's good character, his playing record and his disciplinary record, the Judicial committee reduced the suspension to a period of 10 weeks," a Sanzar statement said.

From this sideline, you wonder about what a player's character has to do with the reduced punishment, especially someone who appears to have a character flaw.

Senatore is a repeat offender. He may have been goaded by victim Keegan Daniels like he was hassled by Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth in 2013.

Provocation is one of the weapons in rugby. Often it is a verbal taunt, repeat sledging or the extra venom delivered in contact. Individual retaliation usually leaves the victim vulnerable to match officials or the judiciary.

However when an offender like Senatore is nailed for a serious repeat offence, he should feel a powerful condemnation from the judiciary.

- NZ Herald

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